Blackheart Handsome Devil

Discussion in 'Other Amps' started by Vesperado, Jul 10, 2020.

  1. Vesperado

    Vesperado Member

    May 24, 2011
    Likes Received:
    Albuquerque, NM USA
    Got mine second hand for a decent price. Having read some threads it seemed like a good mod platform stocked with quality parts. I did some work on it. I didn't like the trebles as they were awfully shrill. The presence control was unuseable, too. I found a mod kit online which altered the tone circuit after that of a Plexi, and other inexpensive parts/mods. So I installed a valve recto with a standby switch in the front, already the sound was improving.

    Upon jamming one evening the volume died out and no sound. I put my hand on the PT and it was pretty cooked. After some searching I found a Hammond PT which fit the spec. I placed the order and while it was on its way modified the tone circuit with the Plexi "tazmanian"mod. I sourced the parts myself. Once the tranny arrived I replaced the old one, and installed a NFB control next to the OT, topside. I also fitted a rocker-style power switch next to the power jack on the back, this way I have all my tone options on the front panel. I then wired in an 80mm fan on the rear panel cover to expell the heat from the recto and power valves.

    How does she sound? Like a power house with tons of volume. What is nice about this amp is it makes for a great pedal platform. I found that running a JJ 5751 in V1 makes it so. I can get this amp to sound like a JMP, my JCM2000, or (get this) a Dual Rectifier. That is how versitle the mods/controls are. Who would have thought one triode gets you there? That stock shrillness is long gone. So here are the results on how I do it:

    JMP: Hao Rust Driver (gain cleaned up)
    JCM2000: Hao OD16 Omega Drive Sixteen or Maxon SD9 (gain somewhat pushed)
    Dual Rec: Maxon DS-830 or Caline Orange Burst (gain pushed)

    I pretty much run the EZ81 recto valve all the time. 15W mode sounds the best, and boy does this amp breathe! The NFB control I set to where it's raunchy enough to emulate what sound it is I'm after. For cleans, she can get pretty darn chimey with the NFB almost dimed. I would like to install a choke, but space at this point seems to be an issue. Still sounds really fat and sweet, and can CRUSH and THUMP when I set it up "Dual Rec" style.

    If anyone claims EL84 amps sound mid-rangey and lack in bass, ignore them. My amp is proof it can hold its own (and at times I think it can outperform my TSL in variety of sounds). Think about that statement.

    I also have not touched the stock Blackheart cab. It's perfect. I find myself plugging ito it MORE OFTEN than plugging into the 1960A with my TSL, it's got the perfect freq response thing going on. I need to try acquiring a 4x12 with these puppies, probably would put the H Creambacks up against the wall, literally.

    Still love my TSL, especially now that I have it as it was originally designed to operate, that is with ZERO ISSUES. But whenever I want that FATNESS and SWEETNESS I get it from my 15W amp. And the crushing authority she dishes out with that DS-830 in the front (cannot seem to get it with my TSL) my neighbors must wonder: "What, he's got a Mesa Boogie, too?!"
    solarburnDSL50 likes this.

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